Firms leverage flexible architecture for flood-prone areas

Whether you live in a run-of-the-mill apartment, an Irish castle, or something that looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger after reading the entire Lovecraft catalog in one sitting, severe water damage from floods can wreak havoc on your home.

Flooding is often listed among the top ten causes of insurance claims in both the US and the UK. This has led to more and more new anti-flooding technologies and techniques like the anti-flood Airbrick, a brick that normally lets air pass through but seals itself shut under flooding conditions.

Not only do these technologies and techniques help keep you and yours safe, they also help cut down your insurance premiums. Insurers love a well-maintained and secure home, after all. They don’t even have to lead to a complete house renovation, either.

“Many of the changes are mainly hidden,” said insurance firm Aviva. “And some are temporary which only need to be erected when a flood warning is issued such as using door guards or airbrick covers. Some changes are permanent and visible but can be disguised and are certainly more preferable to the alternative.”

Some companies are also taking anti-flood technology to the next level by devising new flood-proof housing designs from the ground up. The London-based architectural firm Baca Architects has come up with what they hope could be the answer to the UK’s flooding problems: a house on the banks of the River Thames that rises along with the water level.

The idea is very similar to what Dutch firm Dura Vermeer has done in Maasbommel, a village located along the Maas River. Hollow concrete and timber pontoons found under the buoyant houses allow them to rise as the water rises. All pipes and ducts connected to the houses are flexible, so water, gas, electricity, and sewage systems continue to function even if they rise several meters. When the floods subside, the houses settle back to their original position.

These amphibious houses are much more advanced than your typical house on stilts, but both share the same lineage. With global warming causing more and more floods every year, flexible and adaptable architecture seems poised to be the wave of the future.

Tags: anti-flooding house, architecture design, house design,